The European club season will culminate on Saturday when Real Madrid and Juventus will lock horns in the 2017 UEFA Champions League final. The Spanish and Italian Champions will be competing in their third and second final respectively in the past four seasons.
Real Madrid will look to become the first team to successfully retain the UEFA Champions League since the former European Cup was rechristened to its current name and format. They will also be in contention of completing a league and European Cup double as they won the 2016-17 La Liga. If they were to come out as the victors on Saturday, it will be Real Madrid’s third Champions League title in four seasons and twelfth European Cups/Champions League titles in total.
Real Madrid and Juventus will face each other at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales in what looks like it might turn to be one of the most gripping European clashes in recent memory. Juventus will look to win their first European Cup/Champions League since they won the 1996 UEFA Champions League final on penalties against Netherlands’ AFC Ajax. They will also be on a quest to complete a treble having already won the Serie A and the Italian Cup.
Juventus icon Gianluigi Buffon will be hoping to get his hands on the only title at club level that has eluded him in his illustrious career and the Bianconeri faithful will be anxiously waiting to see their captain lift the famous old trophy. Cristiano Ronaldo will gear up to battle to clinch his fourth Champions League medal and also solidify his claim to fetch his fifth Ballon d’Or with a victory on Saturday.
When and where to watch it?
The 2017 UEFA Champions League final will take place on 3rd June 2017 from Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales and it will be telecast live in India on Ten and Sony Six with the kick-off scheduled at 12.15 am Indian Standard Time.
Team News- Who might be in and who might be out?
Sami Khedira and Mario Mandzukic will likely be available for Massimiliano Allegri’s men while Real Madrid central defender Pepe will probably be ruled out of the clash due to broken ribs. Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane will have to make a last-minute decision to choose between Isco and Gareth Bale to start in the European showpiece event after the latter admitted that he is not a 100% fit due to the issues with his ankles.
Predicted Starting Line-up
Juventus (Coach – Massimiliano Allegri)
Real Madrid (Coach – Zinedine Zidane)
Both the Italian and Spanish Champions virtually dominated their respective domestic leagues. Real Madrid scored 106 goals in their 38 league matches but they also conceded 41 which illustrates their possible defensive vulnerability. Defensive solidity is the furthest of all Juventus’ problems as they only conceded 27 goals but they are not as prolific or free-scoring as the Los Blancos tallying only 77 from their 38 Serie A games.
Similar pattern can be seen in the two sides’ UEFA Champions League campaign. Real Madrid notched up 32 goals but ended up conceding more than half of that amount with 17. Meanwhile, Juventus only conceded three goals in their European campaign this term, out of which two of them were from dead-ball opportunities and scored a respectable 21 goals. Some of the wars within the battle will be of particular intrigue. It will be interesting to see how the central defensive pair of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci contend with the Los Merengues front two of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Another mouth-watering battle will be between the respective full backs of the two teams – Real Madrid left back Marcelo and Juventus right back Dani Alves. Both will come head to head with each other and the ability of one of them to get better of the other might prove to be a crucial factor in the success of their team in this heavyweight encounter. Both are considered two of the best full-backs on the planet and while they are no slouches defensively, they cause greater damage when they accelerate forward down their respective wings.
Dani Alves had a shaky start in Turin but he has produced some brilliant displays in the UEFA Champions League for the Turin side. In Juve’s semi-final win over Monaco, Alves contributed in four goals over two legs with three assists and one pile-driver of a goal. Alves has a total of six goals and seven assists in all competition this term while his nemesis from Madrid has three goals to his name to along with whopping 13 assists in all competitions.
The match will showcase some of the best talents in the world gathered at one stage and it will truly be a struggle of contrasts with Juventus’ defensive brilliance against Real Madrid’s attacking prowess. Both teams have plenty of match-winners on their sides and it will be thrilling to witness who steps up to guide their team to European glory.
Real Madrid (Group F Runners Up) Road to the Final
Round of 16 – Defeated Napoli 6-2 on Aggregate (3-1 H, 1-3 A)
Quarter Finals – Defeated Bayern Munich 6-3 on Aggregate (1-2 A, 4-2 H)
Semi-Finals – Defeated Atletico Madrid 4-2 on Aggregate (3-0 H, 2-1 A)
Juventus (Group H Winners) Road to the Final
Round of 16 – Defeated FC Porto 3-0 on Aggregate (0-2 A, 1-0 H)
Quarter Finals – Defeated FC Barcelona 3-0 on Aggregate (3-0 H, 0-0 A)
Semi-Finals – Defeated AS Monaco 4-1 on Aggregate (0-2 A, 2-1 H)